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The Adventures of Sandy and Laz

A story for Simon Vodosek
By Matt Kaplan and Caroline Helton
January 21, 2002

Part II: The Wild Blue Yonder

After Sandy said goodbye to Laz, he was so excited he could hardly wait until the next morning when he could see his new friend again. Before he climbed into bed, Sandy said to his mom, "Could you make me a picnic lunch for tomorrow?"

"Sure. What would you like?" asked his mom.

"Two pimiento cheese sandwiches, two carrots, two apples, two bags of chips, two brownies, and two juice boxes."

"Okay..." said his mom. "Why do you need so much food? Are you planning to be extra hungry tomorrow?"

"No, mom. I'm having a picnic with my new friend, Laz. He's a ladybug!"

"Oh really?" said his mom curiously.

"Yeah," Sandy continued, "he can talk, and he knows all the songs from Mary Poppins, and he can make me small enough to play on the ladybug playground. We're going to play all day tomorrow, so that's why we need the picnic."

His mom smiled and said, "You do have quite an imagination, Sandy. You'd better get to bed so you're ready for your big day tomorrow."

Sandy could hardly sleep. When it was finally time to get up, he ran downstairs, ate a quick breakfast, and went to kiss his mom goodbye.

"Did you pack our lunches?" asked Sandy.

"Yes, one for you and one for your friend Laz," said his mom, and she handed him two bags, with the name "Sandy" on one and "Laz" on the other. He opened the door and ran over to the picnic table, and there was Laz on the swing, singing

    "Off we go,
    Into the wild blue yonder,
    Flying high,
    Into the sky."

"Laz," cried Sandy, "you came back! I'm so glad to see you!"

"Nice to see you too," said Laz. "Did you bring the lunches, because we have a big day ahead of us!"

"Yup, they're right here," said Sandy.

"Okay, close your eyes and count to three," instructed Laz.

When Sandy opened his eyes, he was small again, and he said, "What should we do? Do you want to play on the swing or on the slide?"

"Swings and slides are fine, but I'd rather spend my time buzzing around in the wild blue yonder," said Laz.

"But I can't fly," answered Sandy.

"You can if you're sitting on my back," said Laz. "What do you say? Are you up for a ride?"

"You bet!" said Sandy.

"Great! You put these on while I get my scarf ready," and he handed Sandy a pilot's cap and a pair of goggles. "It gets pretty windy, so you hold on tight to my scarf," said Laz. "Here we go!"

Off they flew, buzzing up into the bright morning sky. They flew up, down, and around. Up to the treetops, down to the flowers, and all around the garden.

Sandy was having a great time when Laz said, "Okay kid, now that you've got the basics, it's time to learn some fancy moves!"

Next thing he knew, Sandy was upside down like he was on a giant roller coaster. "How do you like the loop-de-loop?" asked Laz. Sandy didn't have time to answer before they plunged into a heart-stopping nosedive. Sandy was sure they were going to crash, but Laz shot them back up into the sky just before they hit the grass.

"You learn fast, kid," said Laz. "I don't know about you, but all this flying around sure has given me an appetite. It's time to break out that picnic you brought."

So they headed down to Riverside Park, where they found a cool green lily pad on which to rest while they ate their lunches. Laz gobbled up all his food, smacked his lips, and said, "Boy, your mom sure knows how to pack a lunch!" Sandy agreed proudly.

After such an exciting morning, our two heroes were content to stretch out and have a nice nap in the sun. Just as they were drifting off to sleep, a whole family of ducks came floating up to their lily pad. The mamma duck spotted Laz on the leaf and was about to snatch him up and have a little lunch of her own. Luckily, some water from her bill dropped onto Sandy's head and woke him up. Sandy opened his eyes and saw the duck making a move for his buddy.

"Watch out, Laz!" yelled Sandy.

Laz woke up just in the nick of time and scooted out of the way, but the duck's bill had pushed the lily pad into the river, and it was filling up with water.

Laz cried, "Come on, kid—I think it's time to get airborne!"

So Sandy hopped on Laz's back, and off they flew to a chorus of disappointed quacking from the duck family below.

"That was a close call, Laz," said Sandy.

"Sure was, kid," said Laz. "Thanks for waking me up. How about we call it a day?"

So Laz took Sandy back home, where they said goodbye and agreed to get back together over the weekend, when they would look for another—less risky—adventure together.

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